Description

ARVAK AND ALSVID

In Norse mythology, Árvakr (Old Norse "early awake") and Alsviðr (Old Norse "all swift") are the horses which pull the sun, or Sol's chariot, across the sky each day. It is said that the gods fixed bellows underneath the two horses' shoulders to help cool them off as they rode.

I liked the Norse mythology name I gave for my old PC, but for the new workhorse (pardon the pun), decided I needed something easier to pronounce within the same theme.

Mostly used for game development, 3D modeling, painting in Photoshop and Painter. I play some games when I can. I was intrigued originally by the idea of building a dual socket 1366 system, having an appreciation for them stemming from a childhood PC. At the time, certain Xeons retired from server use were flooding eBay. But rationality got the better of me and I realized the single core performance I'd be giving up with old chips. And with the price of a dual socket board being roughly $300, I figure I should just buy a new chip for that much.

I held off on publishing expecting to fix a few nitpicks I had when the build was essentially complete in September, but roughly 6 months later I still haven't addressed all the little issues. Well I guess it's now or never - with Ryzen out this build is falling prey to the ever onward march of time and suddenly 6 core CPUs aren't quite as special anymore. A quick explanation of major parts choices and things new to my inventory with this build are after this description.

Remaining nitpicks:

  • Planned full acrylic window mod hasn't really panned out. Hence why the side panel remains off. Might just swap all the parts out into a new glass panel S340, add this case to a growing inventory of spare parts

  • That USB cable! The one coming off the CPU block! I need to find one that angles in the right way to calm my OCD.

  • GPU doesn't have a nice backplate and rather than blow the money on an aftermarket mod one I'm saving for a new GPU. 1080Ti or Vega maybe? Mostly for extra power in Quixel suite if it will actually help, have to check on that.

  • Cables exiting the rear of the system need to be tidied up. I chose this placement of the tower so I could admire my work from both display stations on either side of it, so this is an unavoidable problem.

I also need to dust.

Part Reviews

CPU

At time of purchase, a very uniquely positioned processor well priced for work and play. Should last at least the typical 4 year upgrade cycle well. Broadwell-E successors bring slightly higher IPC, but trade overclocking potential so it's a zero-sum game. Coming from four threads on a 2500k, seeing twelve in task manager that work individually just as hard as that legend is a delight.

CPU Cooler

A little underwhelmed by the cooling performance compared to a H60i and friends results with corsair's thinner 240mm rads. But when put into context of a CPU at roughly 1.33 for voltage and rated at ~145W TDP stock, it's okay if things get a little hot under load. LED illuminated block looks great but not too flashy.

Motherboard

Looks great and is expected to be reliable, but doesn't have as robust power delivery as some similarly priced boards- not to say this is lacking, but you can get more bang for your buck elsewhere. But given I'm not going for crazy LN2 overclocking I'm happy to trade that for a design that's easy on the eyes. First EVGA product and so far so good. Hopefully I won't have to try that legendary customer support, but it's good to know its there.

Memory

Matches well with other parts in the build. Not the fastest DDR4, but not the slowest either. Very well priced. G.Skill was once and up and coming brand but now they're pretty established and I have no problem relying on them once more.

Storage

Intel's 750 series SSD came out in mid 2015 and blew people away with the speed of NVMe. A friend of mine was building a pretty intense 5960X build at the time, and of course living vicariously through him, I was suggesting him a bunch parts. Disappointed that he didn't end up including one of those, I've been able to enjoy NVMe myself now thanks to Plextor's new price effective option.

I was concerned with DMI 2.0 potentially be a limiting factor with the M.2 interface on my motherboard. Maybe some additional homework would have cleared that up but I went with a standard PCI-E slot variant. Also compared to other NVMe drives with green PCBs, this comes in black, is wrapped in a cool shroud, and has a heatsink that helps prevent throttling under heavy use.

Storage

Reviews on the EVOs are pretty good, seem worth the premium over the competitors. No problems thus far.

Storage

It's 2TB, it's cheap (only paid 80 since I picked both up on two different impulse buys at the local Staples). What else can you say?

And kids, don't believe what they say about Seagate. Never had one fail and large studies show them on par with the best out there.

Video Card

It was an okay upgrade to my 7870 I thought, nothing special. But then I overclocked it.

No regrets. Still, might upgrade once Vega shows its head. Or go for the 1080Ti if I'm too impatient and further homework suggests a worthwhile improvement in the most lengthy processing tasks of my workflow.

Anyway, when I do get time for gaming this is more than a match for 2560 x 1600 at 60Hz on Ultra. And except for stupid high resolution Quixel work it doesn't leave me wanting anywhere for work tasks either.

Case

Classy minimalist looks, has just enough of the essentials, very compact. Snug perfect fit for my slightly larger than ATX board. Only complaint is they didn't have the glass panel version out when I was purchasing mine!

Power Supply

From my original build in 2012 and still going strong. Doesn't have a low use silent mode and has sinfully ugly non-modular cables but none of that matters. Love this reliable beast too much!

Did I mention the great warranty on this thing? I still have another two years on mine.

Case Fan

Not quite as quiet as I think specs suggest. At least these fans move air just as well as the stock Corsair fans.

Comments

  • 26 months ago
  • 1 point

You got a killer deal on your memory card right there! Plus, your work station is too attractive to just work. I am afraid you might cheat on your work playing game :)

  • 26 months ago
  • 1 point

Deal? Ha, I suppose so. Memory prices were a bit better back then and I think the price I remember might have included some giftcard balance I kind of just treated as a discount.

  • 26 months ago
  • 1 point

Did you do the carbon wrap yourself? It looks really good!

  • 26 months ago
  • 2 points

I actually did. It went on pretty easy and didn't really have to use much heat. Felt pretty successful for my first time at it, pretty happy with how it turned out too.

  • 26 months ago
  • 1 point

What a wonderful looking build! Did you have to do any kind of modifications to the mounting of the motherboard in the S340 case? Does the back side of the motherboard (like where the 24-pin power connector and whatnot) touch the slight bump that goes around the cable management shroud?

  • 26 months ago
  • 1 point

No modifications were needed thankfully in that regard. The 24-pin is right angled on the board if you can tell, so despite it being a little bigger than ATX spec the cables route easily to connector.

What is a little problematic is that upper SATA ports are a pretty much impossible to reach from the shroud with how close they are and the height of the shroud in the lower areas. But I have enough access for all the local SATA based storage I want to run anyway, so it doesn't really impact me.